The last time we went time traveling I teased at the end about one of my all time favorite attractions, and now it’s time to make good on that promise! Today, we’re talking about the land where Soarin’ sits at Epcot. One housekeeping note: a lot of this is written from my own (entirely too sentimental) memories. If you remember it differently, please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from everyone.
If you went back in time between 1994 and 2004, you’d have no reason to be sad about Soarin’ taking over this space. Food Rocks is the show you’d find, and I can honestly say that even at a young age I understood I was seeing a cheap overlay at Disney. The transition time to install this show was only a couple months, and all of the animatronics felt flat. Even our host, “Fud Wrapper,” looked like he was made from cheap, nylon material. In this show Fud was our guide through the food groups and avoiding excess in a concert performed entirely by audio-animatronics. The only problem was that every song was a popular song with words replaced to fit the food group. Think of an entire show written in the style of Weird Al Yankovic… just not funny. It was one of the first attractions to close after I moved to Orlando, and I was thrilled to see it go! However, if you weren’t able to visit during this time, the show is well documented on YouTube, so you have to watch it. I’m very curious if lots of people will disagree with me on this show. Much like The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management), I might just be firmly on one side of a generation gap. I’ll always love the original Enchanted Tiki Room, and I’ll always love the show that Food Rocks replaced.
From 1982 – 1994 this space was proudly held by Kitchen Kabaret. I still believe this is one of the all time best shows ever at Disney. Sometimes when you dredge things up on YouTube, you’re disappointed at the results, but this wasn’t the case since I still had every word memorized from hundreds of childhood viewings. This show had catchy songs and beautiful animatronics. The idea was almost identical to Food Rocks, with Bonnie Appetite serving as our host to introduce the food groups. However, the songs were better done and the show overall felt more complete. Kitchen Kabaret was a show we watched over and over. We just never got tired of it! While the original Kitchen Kabaret closed in 1994, the overall look and feel of The Land pavilion remained until 2004. The current arrangement holds more people, but I’m partial to the older design. It housed a huge, beautiful fountain and tables with brightly colored umbrellas! In the older design the restaurant was still called Sunshine Seasons, but you had to wait and pay at each different window. Again, currently it’s much more efficient, but I miss the old “country fair” look to things.
So what do you think? Were you able to experience these attractions before they closed? Do you miss either of them or do you prefer Soarin’? If you were only able to see them on YouTube, do you think old folks like me are crazy? I can’t wait to hear your comments below, and – as always – thanks for reading!